For our (me and my mom…and Malcolm) big Epcot day, I picked out Les Chefs de France for lunch. I picked Les Chefs, because I had become mildly obsessed with it, and was dying to go. The obsession was fairly recent, and had built slowly over the previous several weeks…but it was an obsession none the less.
I’ve always told people that I love French food. Confession time: I’d never really eaten French food. But, I like it in theory. I love butter and cream and fattening things, and I love creme brulee (which I had actually eaten, but I’m not counting as “food” since it’s a dessert), and whenever I saw French food on tv or heard about, it always looked and sounded really good and seemed like something I would really like. The problem is, French food isn’t super accessable. Usually you have to go to a really nice, fancy restaurant, get all dressed up, spend a lot of money, and babies aren’t allowed. However, soon after I started going to WDW almost a year ago, I realized that Les Chefs was the answer…I knew I would eat there, it was just a question of when.
Even then, Les Chefs lived in the back of my mind. It wasn’t someplace that I usually thought of when planning meals. Then, several people I knew seemed to eat there, all around the same time. Shane took his mom there for dinner one night, several people in Lines chat were discussing their meals there, and another one of my Lines chat/twitter friends actually posted a video of his conversation with Remy at the restaurant. “Remy?” you ask, “What does Remy have to do with this?” Well folks, Remy was the final nail in my “I have to eat at Les Chefs” coffin.
On the Betamouse podcast (which you should totally listen to by the way, it’s an awesome Disney/tech show, and it makes me happy http://betamouse.net or download from iTunes), in episode #22, they discussed some of Disney’s living character initiatives-and they discussed Remy at Les Chefs. I had never previously heard of Remy, the star rat from Ratatouille, making an appearance at the restaurant, so I was intrigued. Apparently, a 6 inch tall Remy sits on a platter, sometimes covered by a silver dome, and is pushed around on a cart to visit all the tables and chat with guests. In my head I couldn’t even imagine how this would work…but it seemed like an amazing piece of technology, and I HAD to see it in action. THAT was the beginning of the obsession with Les Chefs.
After consulting with folks in Lines chat, I found out that Remy only came out at lunch, and that he did have set times when he’d make his appearances. I checked out Steve Soares’s site (http://pages.prodigy.net/stevesoares/) where all the shows/character times are listed. I decided to make an ADR for 1:00, right in between 2 of the times, so that even if Remy was running late or early or anything, there was a good chance we would see him. I had also heard from someone that if it’s busy he doesn’t visit all the tables, so I put on our reservation that it was my mom’s birthday (her birthday had been 6 weeks before, so, close enough), just as added assurance that we would see him.
So, on the actual day at Epcot, remember we had a very early morning, and began with breakfast at Akershus, and then went off to explore Future World. We had a busy, but very fun morning. My mom had been to Epcot back in 1986, and was excited to see all the stuff that was different, and that some stuff was still sort of the same too. Crowds weren’t bad, and we got everything we wanted to do in Future World done except for Spaceship Earth and Universe of Energy which we were saving for the brutally hot afternoon.
It was nearly 1 at this point, so we were off to France for lunch. However, on the way to the restaurant, Malcolm fell asleep in his stroller. Uh-oh. I wasn’t sure how this would work out. I’ve peeked inside the windows at Les Chefs and I know that there isn’t a whole lot of room in there, and I wasn’t sure how accommodating they would be of my massive stroller. We discussed that if they wouldn’t let us take the stroller in, we would have to eat someplace else. This did NOT make me happy, but, that’s one of the things you have to deal with when you have a baby. When we checked in with the hostess, I told them right away we had a sleeping baby, and YAY! They told us it would be no problem at all and we would be able to bring the stroller in. They even gave us an out of the way table and cleared out some chairs so we could tuck Malcolm against the wall where he would be in semi-darkness, and it would be a bit more quiet.
My first thought upon entering Les Chefs, was that the restaurant was gorgeous! However, my second thought, which quickly came in and shoved the first thought out of the way was, “Holy Crap…French boys are gorgeous!” Yeah, yeah, I know that’s very juvenile and I should behave like a mature adult or whatever…but seriously, there is some serious eye-candy that works in this restaurant. Plus, they all have really sexy French accents, so that only makes it better.
Anyway, back to my first thought, the restaurant itself is beautiful. It’s what a little French cafe looks like when I picture it in my head. Lots of big windows, elegant paintings, bottles of wine everywhere. It was very nice, but not at all intimidating. Whenever I saw the restaurant from outside, I thought it looked like it would be a bit uncomfortable inside, like I’d feel out of place in my shorts and t-shirt, but that wasn’t the case at all.
Also, we all know the stereotypes that exist about the French and their rudeness, and I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about that as well. However, everyone, the hostess, our waiter, the manager, Remy’s attendant, EVERYONE was so nice and welcoming. Several hostesses came over to coo over Malcolm as he slept, all the waiters came and wished my mom a happy birthday, the manager stopped by and chatted with us for a bit, everyone was wonderful. I was very much at ease eating here, despite all of my apprehensions.
I had talked to several people about the menu at Les Chefs, and I already knew what I wanted to order. They have a fantastic 3 course prix fixe menu that includes soup, entree, and dessert. In each category you have 2 or 3 choices, and I found it VERY hard to pick which items I wanted. However, based on previous suggestions from others, I got bisque de homard (lobster bisque), gratin de macaroni (baked macaroni and cheese), and creme brulee. My mom ordered the same thing, except she got quiche lorraine for her entree.
First they brought out some bread, a fantastic, crusty, classic French baguette, and our soup. The soup was AMAZING! Seriously, best bisque ever. We both practically licked our bowls (thank goodness we had the bread or we may have literally licked the bowls). We also ate the entire baguette, and had to ask for another one. Everything was so yummy, I didn’t think the meal could get any better, and we were only on the first course!
Then, as we finished up our soup and bread, I spotted him…REMY!! An attendant was pushing a cart, and we could just make out the little rat sitting on the platter talking to a table of people. Despite the fact that he was still several tables away, I pulled out my camera and got all ready to meet him. The restaurant wasn’t crowded at all and he was taking his time at each table, and I was freaking out, I was so excited. Finally, he got to our table. Now Remy himself just squeaks, you know, like a rat…but his attendant translates and fills in any gaps in the conversation. Remy and his attendant sang a birthday song to my mom, and asked about the meal so far, and asked about Malcolm (who was still sleeping). It was awesome. I seriously have no idea how Remy “works.” He is pure Disney magic. Remy was so interactive and so adorable. I loved him. Even with all the stuff I’d heard about him, I had no idea he would be quite that awesome. It was just a truly incredible bit of technology, and I’m still excited that I got to experience it.
Shortly after Remy left, our entrees arrived. Once again, everything was delicious. I sampled my mom’s quiche, and it was very tasty, however, I was very happy with my decision to order the mac and cheese. I ate about half of it (it was a fairly large portion), and then just couldn’t eat any more. We had already had our soup, and lots of bread, and it hadn’t even been all that long since breakfast. For the first time, I was beginning to understand what people meant when they say that being on the deluxe dining plan is just too much food. When it’s 100 degrees outside, and you’re spending all your time on your feet and sweating, big meals with several courses, 3 times a day just don’t really sound good. Plus, we had an ADR for Biergarten in about 5 hours, and we still had dessert to get through…and we were running on about 4 hours of sleep.
We decided that something had to give. We decided that although we would eat our desserts, we would then go spend some time digesting on Universe of Energy and Spaceship Earth, and then go home. We had already decided to do a second day at Epcot, so we weren’t worried about the fact that we hadn’t done any of World Showcase, and it was no big deal to cancel our Biergarten reservation for that night.
The creme brulee, was outstanding. My mom’s came with a candle in it for her birthday, and our waiter whispered the happy birthday song to her in French (he whispered so he wouldn’t wake Malcolm–very sweet). Even though we were both full to bursting, we still managed to each polish off our desserts…but just barely.
Even though we left the park by about 4, it was still a very productive day. We got all of Future World done, and we had an amazing lunch experience. We both agreed that it was probably one of the top meals we had ever had. Not only was the food great, but the service was superb, and Remy was delightful. I really look forward to returning to Les Chefs. I think Malcolm would really enjoy seeing Remy, and want to go back when he is awake (although, I did really enjoy having a meal where I could just enjoy myself and not have to worry about him).
Even though we had an early end to our day, we still had 3 Disney days left on my mom’s trip! Next up would be Animal Kingdom, beginning with a pre-opening ADR at Tusker House!
Look for that post to be up soon…until then, follow me on twitter @scarlettashley1, friend me on Facebook under Scarlett Ashley, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org